This is a translation of the first part of the Taka x Rurouni Kenshin Special Interview, titled Bond. The original article was published May 28, 2021 and can be found here.
[Bond] The fateful bond between Movie “Rurouni Kenshin” and ONE OK ROCK
Do you remember when the offer came for the theme song for the first Rurouni Kenshin movie?
A really fateful thing happened. Originally, when we joined our previous agency, the person who found us was someone who was once SIAM SHADE’s manager. SIAM SHADE sang a theme song for the Rurouni Kenshin anime and was a very successful band. But some years later, that manager passed away from sickness. On the other hand, when it came time to do the live-action version of Rurouni Kenshin, the main lead Takeru Satoh and I had chased after various dreams together since our teen years and were like comrades who had fought alongside each other… When that comrade came to work on Rurouni Kenshin, Takeru said, “The theme song has got to be ONE OK ROCK.” As such, I felt like all the gears were in sync. We’re where we are now thanks to everything finally coming together. I was still in my early 20s at the time, but I remember how the seed of our sense of purpose sprouted back then.
Would you say that the story of Rurouni Kenshin and ONE OK ROCK are synchronized?
Rather than those two, I would say that Takeru Satoh, ONE OK ROCK, and Rurouni Kenshin were synchronized. There was a moment where the three just came together with a bang, and from there it was just like things fell into place.
We can also feel the chemical reaction between Rurouni Kenshin which is very popular overseas and ONE OK ROCK who has expanded the reach of their activities worldwide.
Yes. There’s the feeling of ONE OK ROCK walking alongside Rurouni Kenshin so in that sense, I feel like this was inevitable. Like I said earlier, after the gears aligned at the beginning, it was like all we had to do was go forward. No matter how much we strive for something of high quality, there’s the challenge of whether or not we’ll be able to pursue it without giving up, and it’s a relationship where we’ve just continued to focus on keeping that mindset.
Did the pressure increase with each movie?
I think you could also say that this is about synchronization, but whenever a new Rurouni Kenshin movie comes out, it’s exactly when ONE OK ROCK is taking on a new challenge. In order words, our growth along with Rurouni Kenshin’s were turning on the same gears, and rather than the pressure, we had to always be aware so that the two didn’t collide with each other.
What is the new challenge ONE OK ROCK is taking on during this timing of “The Final” and “The Beginning”?
ONE OK ROCK’s long history spans 16 years, and we recently have a clear theme of wanting to firmly climb the next stage within us. We want to continue our activities while valuing that theme. And then when I watched the two new Rurouni Kenshin works that came out this time, the theme in the movies and our present theme as a band went so well together that you’d be surprised. I felt really happy about that.
Please tell us your thoughts after watching Rurouni Kenshin: The Final. The end product provided action entertainment with a great gathering of all the characters.
It had such a huge impact, and the words “great gathering” really do embody the movie. And with the scale exceeding that of the first three movies, I just couldn’t help but be overwhelmed. I thought my eyes would pop right out of my head. (laugh)
(Laugh) Please tell us about the conception of the theme song “Renegades.”
There was something that linked with ONE OK ROCK’s current state of mind. The conflicts that dwell inside Kenshin Himura’s heart and the sword he swings to defeat his opponents in order to change the times and move forward… That was it. In this movie, Kenshin was overwhelmingly desolate, but at the same time he was also full of kindness and loneliness. It’s1 a song that we wrote while focusing on that humanity that I felt from Kenshin in The Final and linking it with our current feelings and the direction that suits us.
How did the collaboration with Ed Sheeran for “Renegades” come about?
At first we just thought about creating a song with Ed. Then the offer for the movie just happened to come along. He2 also seemed to know about Rurouni Kenshin, and that’s how we came to make the theme song together. After we decided to make the song together, I told Ed, “First, please let me explain in detail.” We explained our current motivations, our feelings towards Rurouni Kenshin, and also what kind of character the man named Kenshin is. We also explained how well-suited the role of Kenshin is for Takeru Satoh, Takeru’s human nature, what kind of relationship I have with him… We created the song together after I explained all of this to Ed.
Please tell us the background behind “Broken Heart of Gold,” the theme song for The Beginning.
When I first saw the movie, the sounds and CG were not yet added…… It was like…… It gave me the chills when I finished. But at the same time, when I thought about what kind of song would be befitting of this ending, it was like, “It’s got to start with this sound.” The image of only this sound being the one that fits immediately came to mind. I carefully brought that home with me…… The song was created without breaking the image of “this sound” that flashed before me. I asked the director to send me a video clip of just the final scene and watched it many times.
The second part of the interview, titled Future, can be found here.